By Doug Bennett, aka The Goals Guy®
When you first set up your own business, it’s tempting to do everything yourself to limit expenditure. However, as you grow your audience and revenue, you’ll likely become overwhelmed unless you start to automate.
When you make the most of the digital tools available, you’ll free up time and energy to focus on your client-facing work or product development, which is ultimately what your clients and customers are happy to pay you for.
I’ve taken my processes a step further and hired support to publish my blogs and podcasts, and share or schedule my social media content, so that I can focus on helping people reach their goals (financial or otherwise).
There is a vast range of generic apps available to help you streamline your biz; it’s also worth checking whether there are specific ones best suited to your industry.
5 tools to help your business run like clockwork
Here are five of the online tools that help my business run like clockwork (and they all happen behind the scenes).
1. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
It’s crucial that you have a database to store your customer information that also enables you to communicate directly with them. Many of these databases offer a free starter package that you can use until you need a paid-for premium product. Mailchimp, MailerLite or Constant Contact are marketing automation tools that enable you to store your customer names and email addresses. They also enable you to create sales pages.
2. Online assistant or scheduling tools
Even if you want to be available as much as possible when you launch your business, you’ll probably find that it’s a fast route to losing your work-life balance and creating burnout. Use a calendar scheduling tool such as Calendly or Acuity Scheduling to show the times that you are available for client appointments. These tools are particularly useful because most people don’t want to argue with what the computer shows them, whereas if they speak to you directly, they might try to nudge you towards an appointment outside your usual range of working hours.
3. Social media marketing and management
Once you have a steady stream of clients and customers, posting your content live can become more challenging. Some platforms enable you to schedule your posts within them (for example, Facebook), while you can use an external system such as Hootsuite or Planoly to plan and schedule your content so that it rolls out automatically.
4. Content creation tools
If you need to create graphics, presentations, posters, documents or ebooks for your business (and aren’t yet in a position to hire a professional designer), you might like to use a design tool like Canva.
5. Online sources for images and illustrations
While Canva offers a range of free images and illustrations, you can also access more on Pexels or Freepik, or you can use Iconfinder to create beautiful designs for your social media channels (I don’t know how to use all these things, I just know that they work!).
There’s so much to learn when you start your own biz; it might feel like all you do is learn, but if you’re willing to put the time and effort into setting up these systems and processes, you’ll save yourself hours of time and frustration later. Or, if you’re in the service-based industry like me, you can hire a person or company to do it all for you so that you can share your amazing wisdom and then trust that it will appear in the world at the right time and in the best possible way!
I hope this blog will support you to take the next step towards your business goals. If you’d like to talk to me directly about your goals (and not specifically about technology!) then click here to book a discovery call. You might also like to read my book Think Simple Win Big: How to Build the Business of Your Dreams With a Few Simple Goals.